Zune Installation in my Boxster

Following the recent success in using a Zune for the kids to watch movies in the family vehicle, I decided it was time to update the music system in my car. I was a very happy customer of a Kenwood Keg which had been professionally installed in my Boxster years ago, but frustrations with that…


Book Review: Essential C# 3.0

I haven’t posted a book review here before, but that’s because no-one has sent me a pre-release draft manuscript to review before! So here it is, a review of Essential C# 3.0 by Mark Michaelis. To skip to the chase, I like this book a lot. My personal C# level is Intermediate: although I was…


Converting Zune playlists into Windows Media Player playlists

For some inexplicable reason Zune playlists (ZPL) are different from Windows Media Player playlists (WPL). I foolishly made a Zune playlist and wanted to burn a data CD with it, but the Zune Burn feature only makes audio CDs. I tried loading the ZPL into WMP, but it failed. After 60 seconds of comparing two files, here is…


Using a Zune 80GB as a Car Video Player

Following on the theme of trying to make it easier for my kids to watch movies in the car but without the hassle of the pesky shiny discs, I decided to try using a Zune 80GB as a car video player. This is clearly outside its design parameters, because the Zune Car Kit has no…


Tricks and Tips for using the VMR9

A few months ago I did some work involving the VMR9, and I hit several brick walls. Many of these brick walls I hit about six months previously when working on a PC application for HD DVD playback (no, there were no plans to ship it, even then), but I hadn’t taken enough notes of…


Who doesn’t take credit/debit cards in 2008? Washington State Licensing, that’s who

Normally I renew my car tabs online with a credit or debit card, but that wasn’t possible this week so I visited an actual License Office. Much to my amazement there was a sign stating “We do not accept Debit or Credit cards”. When my turn came to speak to an employee, I asked why….


Playing Ripped DVDs with Media Center Extenders

At last I have succeeded in getting ripped DVDs to play from my Xbox 360’s Media Center Extender, and here is how I did it. First off let me explain my goals: I want to be able to play my kid’s DVDs via my home network, so they can avoid trashing the shiny discs any…


What did you do in the Format War, Daddy?

My kids are 2 and 4 yrs old so have little concept of what Daddy does, though they do know the words DVD, Xbox, and Lightsaber. However in a decade or so they might be able to understand what Daddy did in the format war, so here’s how I plan on explaining the last three…


Why HD DVD Really Lost The Format War

It’s all my fault. I’m terribly sorry. Something critical happened in October 2007 that I forgot to add to yesterday’s Diary posting. Before CES 2007 I was going to do it, but I was worried that something bad might happen at CES so I didn’t. After the Paramount announcement I figured that CES 2008 was going…


Diary of a High Definition Format War

Here are my personal highlights (and lowlights) of the format war, from down in the trenches of the HD DVD team at Microsoft. To make it a bit clearer, here is a graph of the peaks and troughs of the last three years: April 2005: I join the Profession Content Group. Immediately start work on…